Stye Eye: What It Is, Symptoms Causes & Treatment

A stye is a common and often painful infection that occurs on your eyelid, typically caused by a blocked gland. These small, red bumps cause discomfort and may affect your daily activities. 

Knowing the best remedies can help alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and speed up the healing process.

The Best Stye Remedies

In many cases, styes can be treated at home without medical intervention. However, if your condition worsens, seeking professional advice is recommended.

Identifying the most effective remedy for your stye will ensure a quicker recovery and prevent further complications.

What’s a Stye?

A stye is a small, painful lump that forms on the edge of your eyelid. It’s caused by a bacterial infection in the oil glands of the eyelid. Often, styes are harmless and don’t affect your vision.

What's a Stye

Styes can appear on either the upper or lower eyelid and may be visible on the surface or hidden inside. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, pain, or discharge around the eyelid area.

Common Causes of Styes

A stye is caused by the inflammation of a gland in your eyelid. This inflammation is often due to a bacterial infection in the gland, specifically staphylococcus bacteria.

Common Causes of Styes

A blockage in the gland may also contribute to the development of a stye.

Hordeolum v Chalazion

A hordeolum, commonly referred to as a stye, is an infected oil gland in the eyelid. A chalazion, on the other hand, is a non-infectious inflammation of the same oil glands. While both conditions cause a lump on the eyelid, a chalazion is usually larger and less painful than a stye.

Symptoms of a Stye

While most styes resolve on their own, understanding these symptoms can help determine when medical intervention is necessary.

Tenderness and Sensitivity

Tenderness is one of the predominant symptoms experienced when with a stye. The eye area becomes sensitive, causing discomfort when blinking or touching. This increased sensitivity can vary from mild to severe and could be enhanced when the stye is forming or is aggravated.

Tenderness and Sensitivity

The pain associated with this tenderness can affect everyday activities, especially those involving sight. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize this symptom and resort to effective remedies for easing the discomfort.

Pain or Discomfort

Pain or discomfort is another common symptom of a stye. It usually ranges from a mild stinging sensation to a more intense, throbbing pain. People often notice an ache, especially when they blink or apply pressure to the affected area.

Pain or Discomfort

This symptom can significantly impact daily routines and overall eye health. Consider consulting an optometrist if pain continues or escalates.

Burning Feeling

The burning feeling is another potential sign of a stye. The affected eye may feel like it’s on fire or has a foreign object in it, which can cause significant discomfort. This burning feeling may persist throughout the stye’s presence. 

If a burning sensation is present alongside other symptoms, it’s important to initiate relevant treatments right away. 

Burning Feeling

Eye Discharge

Stye symptoms often include eye discharge, which can be sticky and cause the eyelids to feel crusty or stuck together, particularly upon waking. This can lead to some difficulty in opening the affected eye or maintaining clear vision.

If the condition is persistent despite home measures, it is recommended to seek medical advice to prevent further complications like conjunctivitis.

Eye Discharge

Light Sensitivity

Light sensitivity is a common symptom that accompanies a stye. The individual might experience discomfort or find it hard to keep their eyes open in bright environments. This can hinder daily tasks that are dependent on good lighting.

Wearing sunglasses or lowering the brightness of digital screens can mitigate the discomfort caused by light sensitivity.

Light Sensitivity

The Best Stye Remedies for Quick Relief

This section will explore the best remedies to provide quick relief from styes. Please note that while these remedies are generally safe for most people, it’s critical to consult a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist, worsen, or recur frequently.

Warm Compress

A warm compress is a highly effective home remedy for treating a stye. The warmth boosts circulation and helps the pus dissolve, allowing the stye to drain naturally.

Warm Compress

Wet a clean washcloth and apply it to the affected area for 10-15 minutes multiple times a day until the stye begins to heal.

Mild Soap and Water

Maintaining good lid hygiene is essential when dealing with a stye. Gently wash your affected eyelid using mild soap and water.

Cleanse the area with caution and use a cotton swab to avoid irritating the stye any further. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation around the stye.

Avoid Wearing Makeup

While dealing with a stye, it’s best to avoid wearing eye makeup. Eye makeup can cause irritation and delay the healing process. 

Avoid Wearing Makeup

If necessary, choose hypoallergenic makeup products with antibacterial properties when resuming makeup use. Always ensure your makeup tools are clean and avoid sharing to prevent reinfection.

Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses can cause irritation and prolong the healing process for a stye. Your vision may also be affected.

Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses

Opt for glasses during this time, and only resume wearing contact lenses when the stye has healed completely.

Massage the Area to Promote Drainage

Gentle massages around the stye can help promote drainage and reduce oil buildup. Use clean hands and apply mild pressure to the affected area, ensuring that you do not squeeze or pop the stye.

Massaging can aid in the healing process and allow the stye to drain naturally.

When Should I See a Doctor?

It’s important to know when to consult a doctor for a stye. If your eye is swollen shut, you’re experiencing fever, or the pain and swelling persist despite applying warm compresses for several days, it’s time to see a doctor. 

Also, if you notice thick drainage, pus, recurrent styes, or vision changes such as blurred or double vision, seek medical advice. Reach out to a dermatologist or an ophthalmologist, as they specialize in eye and skin conditions. 

In some cases, the doctor may recommend having the stye incised and drained or receiving a steroid shot to reduce inflammation.


Medical Treatments for Styes

While home remedies can effectively treat many styes, severe or recalcitrant styes may necessitate medical treatment. 

Steroid Injections

Steroid shots are sometimes used as a treatment for severe or persistent styes. Doctors inject a steroid into the eyelid to help reduce inflammation and speed up healing. These injections are typically used for styes that haven’t responded to other treatments.

These injections could have side effects, such as infection or changes in eyelid appearance. Hence, they’re considered when other treatments have not been effective, and the stye causes major discomfort.

Drainage Through Surgery

In some rare cases, a medical professional might recommend draining a persistent or particularly bothersome stye through minor surgery. This procedure typically involves using a local anesthetic and carefully puncturing the stye to allow the pus to escape.

Drainage Through Surgery

This treatment is quick and usually effective but should only be performed by a healthcare professional rather than attempted at home. It’s essential to always maintain good hygiene before and after the surgery to promote healing and avoid potential post-surgery infections.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes styes to develop?

Styes develop due to a bacterial infection in the oil glands of your eyelid. This infection leads to swelling, redness, and discomfort.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing a stye include poor eyelid hygiene, makeup usage, and stress.

How can I quickly get rid of an eyelid stye?

Quickly treating a stye involves using a warm compress. The warmth helps bring pus to the surface, allowing the stye to drain naturally.

How can I quickly get rid of an eyelid stye

Apply a clean, warm compress to your affected eye for 10-15 minutes several times a day.

Which over-the-counter treatments are effective for styes?

Over-the-counter treatments include antibiotic ointments and pain-relief eye drops. Using these treatments according to the package directions can help alleviate infection and discomfort associated with styes.

If you need help determining which option is best for you, consult a healthcare professional.

What role do eye drops play in stye treatment?

Eye drops, particularly those containing antibiotic or anti-inflammatory properties, can help reduce swelling and inflammation related to styes.

What role do eye drops play in stye treatment

Using eye drops as directed can improve your comfort and promote the healing process.

What self-care measures can I take for a stye?

Self-care measures include leaving the stye alone (not popping or squeezing), gently washing the affected eyelid with mild soap and water, and avoiding makeup on the infected area.

What self-care measures can I take for a stye

Additionally, following proper hand and eye hygiene can help prevent the occurrence or spread of styes.